Ex-Plettenburg Bay Sea Rescue man Derek Frielinghaus and his son in law were trapped by the floods at St Francis and sent these pictures and words:
We got out by boat at 6 am but the river is still swollen and dangerous. The big problem for all is that all of our vehicles are stuck in the town and the only access is by boat, which is quite unusual, in this day and age that there is not secondary roads.
NSRI there were doing a sterling job of ferrying people out ( and their pets) from early Sunday until sunset. It was rather a strange feeling being on the receiving end of NSRI.
Original report: ST FRANCIS BAY Sunday, 21st October, 2012. NSRI becomes only hope to ferry across the river:
At 07h00 on Sunday, 21st October NSRI St Francis Bay volunteers were activated following reports of the Main Road at the intersection of Sand River and the Krom river collapsed.
Marc May, NSRI St Francis Bay station commander said that the road is the only access route to and from St Francis Bay.
Our St Francis Bay duty crew launched Spirit of St Francis II and Eikos Rescuer I and responded through the Krom River Mouth and upstream of the Krom River to the Sand River where we found the entire road collapsed from flooding and heavy rain.
Throughout Sunday NSRI St Francis Bay have ferried well over 200 people across the river both to get in and out of St Francis Bay.
There simply was no other way for tourists leaving or entering St Francis Bay, some of whom had flights to catch or destinations to reach. A child needing to go to hospital suffering a high temperature and many people making their normal Sunday route to hospital for normal treatments were ferried as well as residents returning home and holiday makers needing to get out to go home.
In some cases private boats were also used to help in this massive operation but the toll that the flood waters, with debris and flotsam floating downstream, took on boats soon rendered them to stop trying but the NSRI pressed on and by last light it appeared that most people who had to leave and most people who have had to come in to St Francis Bay have been satisfied by the rescue ferry service provided by the NSRI St Francis Bay volunteers.
In some cases school learners who are supposed to begin matric exams tomorrow were ferried out to families and friends assisting with accommodations so that they can reach their final exams tomorrow.
The situation at present is that Disaster Management and Police are manning the entry and exit points to try to prevent people from trying to cross the river during the night to prevent injury and residents and tourists are advised not to try to cross the river during the night.
NSRI St Francis Bay volunteers will return from first light on Monday morning to continue to assist until authorities can figure out an alternative and in the hope that the flood waters subside.